The Parties to the UNFCCC and Paris Agreement agreed to act on the basis of equity to protect the climate system. Equitable effort sharing is an irreducibly normative matter, yet some influential studies have sought to create quantitative indicators of equitable effort that claim to be value-neutral (despite evident biases). Many of these studies fail to clarify the ethical principles underlying their indicators, some mislabel approaches that favour wealthy nations as ‘equity approaches’ and some combine contradictory indicators into composites we call derivative benchmarks. This Perspective reviews influential climate effort-sharing assessments and presents guidelines for developing and adjudicating policy-relevant (but not ethically neutral) equity research.
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The authors declare no competing interests.
Peer review information Nature Climate Change thanks Sudhir Rajan, Narasimha Rao, Steve Vanderheiden and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
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Dooley, K., Holz, C., Kartha, S. et al. Ethical choices behind quantifications of fair contributions under the Paris Agreement. Nat. Clim. Chang. 11, 300–305 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-021-01015-8
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Climatic Change (2021)